2020, what did we ever do to deserve this year? 

We joyously greeted the then new year with high hopes and expectations for improvement; our “2020 Vision” we called it. All of which had to be scrapped due to what was to happen.

All our plans for the year were ruined on that fateful day in March when it was announced that classes were suspended and eventually community quarantines were to commence. 

Life was tough in the middle of the year. Anxiety gripped us as we witnessed the continuous surge of cases and the risk of our family members getting infected, and a few days of hot headedness as a number of irresponsible citizens violated quarantine protocols, worsening the situation.

For students, distance learning was a challenge, we never even asked for it, yet we were forced to endure it.

Students faced many problems in adjusting to a new mode of learning such as risking having lower grades due to poor performance because of the effects on mental health brought by this pandemic; at the same time the poor internet connection service our country faces and the lack of equipment to pursue our courses online and these are just some of them.

On the brighter side, online work did not just bring gloominess, but also positive vibes as social media became more prevalent in boosting our morale through bringing messages of hope, motivation, prayers, and other forms such as digital art, animation, vlogging and above all, music and dance, coming from the people the who matter to us dearly. 

Thanks to social media, we are still able to connect with God even if we cannot physically go to church though the online celebration of the Holy Mass and Online Prayers.

However, swift modes of information like these also brought forth anxiety, despair, and anger as news continued to flood in with reports of a rise in cases, a global increase in violence, and faulty leaderships brought about by irrational decisions affecting the society negatively. 

We could all agree that the events that defined this dreaded year are tearfully unacceptable; almost every day, news headlines herald something bad has or is going to happen.

We were stunned as we saw videos and photos of houses covered in ash from the Taal Volcano eruption, a huge explosion in Beirut, and wildfires in Australia and in the United States. But these were just the tip of the iceberg of what was to come. 

We witnessed from other parts of the world, the rise of social awareness to racial injustices, police brutality, government change and reform, gender equality, and so on. 

And in our own country, Freedom of Speech and Press following the shutdown of one of the country’s major media network from broadcasting on radio and television and later, the passage of the controversial Anti-Terrorism Law.

These protests may have looked horrendous, but at least the messages they wished to convey were clear hoping that they will not fall to deaf or conservative ears.

We also mourned the lives lost this year, those who we see as models of inspiration, all the loved ones close to us who have passed on due to violence and disease related or unrelated to this contagion we are currently facing; and to the medical professionals who made the ultimate sacrifice in stemming the transmission of this virus.

As the year ended, we faced yet another challenge as a series of tropical cyclones hit the country which damaged properties and claimed lives. But, we all had a sigh of relief as news of a vaccine having 95% effectivity rate was finally developed, approved and eventually rolled-out , and as the United States had finally elected its new set of leaders who promised to bring forth change to the nation.

Just like the lyrics of a recently popular song, we could all agree “Lowkey ‘eff’ 2020” at the same time, now that the year is over, we can thank it for the lessons it has taught us, though some were an extreme pain in the heart.